The Indigo Disk Preview: Battles Take Center Stage in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s Next DLC
Prepare for trouble, and make it double.
It's been just over a year since Pokémon Scarlet and Violet was released, and now the latest generation is receiving its second piece of DLC. The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero Part 2: The Indigo Disk continues the story of the base game and Part 1: The Teal Mask. Ahead of the DLC’s December 14 release date, Inverse went hands-on with The Indigo Disk and got a look at what the latest expansion has to offer. The new tech-savvy setting and a greater focus on strategic battles make for an interesting finale to Scarlet and Violet, even if it still has some of the lingering issues of the base game.
After players' adventures in the base game and a visit to the Teal Masks' new locale of Kitakami, The Indigo Disk whisks players away to yet another new location. Blueberry Academy is a sister school to whichever institution the player attends in the base game (Naranja or Uva, depending on your version) and accepts the player as an exchange student. Blueberry Academy has a tech-focused aesthetic, as the school’s sleek silver and blue metal stands in juxtaposition to the more rural vibes of The Teal Mask’s Kitakami. To top it all off, you get a sleek new uniform to wear.
The Blueberry Academy has two major attractions that serve as the main event for the expansion’s gameplay. First is the Terrarium, an undersea park separated into four distinct biomes (Savannah, Coastal, Canyon, and Pola) that offer different weather, terrain, and plenty of Pokémon (new and old) to catch. This is The Indigo Mask’s center of exploration for players, as each biome contains new adventures and secrets to uncover. The new Blueberry Pokédex gives players even more incentive to fully explore every biome.
During my preview, I explored the Savannah and Coastal biomes. The smaller areas are a manageable size that doesn’t overwhelm the player but doesn’t feel restrictive either. The only downside to the Terrarium is that on a quest to catch a specific Pokémon for a professor, I could see the familiar pop-in of Pokémon in a small area around me as I moved. Scarlet and Violet have had some technical issues since launch, and while many of them have been solved, Indigo Disk shows that other issues are here to stay.
The second feature that Blueberry Academy is famous for is the school’s heavy focus on battles, and not just normal battles — Blueberry Academy puts the double battle front and center. Every battle against another trainer I encountered during The Indigo Disk preview revolved around the double battle, offering a surprising challenge. You need to finish the base game and The Teal Mask to start The Indigo Disk. As end-game content, enemies are already high-level and don’t mess around in battle. My first double battle resulted in my entire team getting wiped out after a series of unlucky events.
The pinnacle of these battles is the Blueberry Elite Four, a new set of tough trainers to test your metal against. The Indigo Mask adds a new wrinkle to this, starting each Elite Four battle with an Elite Trial. Amary’s trial, which Inverse got to see in the preview, saw me having to fly through a series of rings under a certain time. While the trial was fairly easy to accomplish, it is nice to see The Indigo Disk add layers to the experience beyond just battling.
The battle against Amarys was itself a satisfying challenge. Double battles with Pokémon at high level require more strategic thought on the part of the player, managing so many types and terestalizing on top of that. I barely managed to squeeze out a victory after trading off knockouts with Amarys until finally catching a lucky break and reviving two Pokémon in my party that had an advantage over her remaining Pokémon. However, that difficulty made the victory all the sweeter.
For those who have stuck with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Indigo Mask is shaping up to be a welcome challenge for players who have seen everything the base game has to offer.